Teacher Diaries – Ms. Isabella
When I was a student, the most enjoyable moments of learning English were when I read my favourite story books and when I watched my favourite English cartoons and movies. Writing English stories and essays were also enjoyable. There are never right or wrong answers in English writing, unlike grammar exercises. Therefore, I always encourage my students to write whatever ideas that come to their mind.
At i-Learner, our Love-to-write course aims at stimulating students’ creative story planning potentials so that they can become confident English writers who are brave in putting their ideas on papers. A Primary 1 girl with average English standard came to my Love-to-write class, and her work has proven that despite what one’s writing abilities are, creativity really can be limitless. During the brainstorming process, I gave an example of ‘Captain Underpants’, describing how he looked, what superpowers he possessed, and what heroic personalities he had. After that, I let her draw a ‘superheroine’ so that she could decorate the costume and decide what special weapons the character hides. At first, she seemed quite timid about drawing a superhero because she probably thought a superhero must be a male; but her face lit up immediately after I gave her the idea that a superhero can be a female (Why do you think little girls admire Ella in Frozen so much?).
After a short while, she had written in a first person perspective, introducing herself as ‘Superholly’. Some grammatical and spelling mistakes were made, so I reminded her to correct them along the writing process. Despite those mistakes, I am impressed by the amount of ideas she had poured into the writing. If this student is encouraged to read more English storybooks at home, her written grammar will be improved further, and so will her ability to come up with writing ideas with less hesitation.
A P6 student in my grammar class has maintained a high standard of performance in grammar and writing because she has been reading a wide range of fiction. She usually finishes ahead of tasks, so as a kind of extra exercise, one lesson I gave her a writing topic on the moral topic of ‘Should we lie?’. Without too much time spent pondering, she finished a short piece of writing with concise and well-supported points, using a variety of sentence structures above the standard of her age. This is just one of the many examples that I have seen how leisure reading can improve a students’ general English, especially writing. Therefore, I strongly encourage that parents take their children to the local library regularly to harvest children’s language potentials.